Friday, June 13

"Don't forget that they're turning the water off until 5 this afternoon," I heard a waiter mention to his collegue as I passed. I was going to turn around and ask him where. All over town? Just the beach area? But I was distracted by someone else and forgot all about it.

On arriving home at 5.30pm we were vaguely annoyed to find that the water, indeed had been turned off and was not yet back on. Skye and Carlo had both had a short swim after lunch, and after a short rain shower we had all walked home bare-foot (safer than in slippery flip-flops).

Around 7.30pm we started feeling the need for water. I had cleaned out the kitty litter tray without thinking, and was unable to wash my hands. The others were were still salty, Skyes hair was a bush of tangles and I wanted to wash the street off my feet. I also wanted a cup of tea but the kettle was empty. Not a drop of water came out of the taps.

But didn't we have a watertank on the roof, I thought? I asked Carlo. "Yes, but those builders in the next flat disconnected it the other day because they needed to move it. They obviously haven't reconnected it."

It started to rain. Thunder and lightening followed and I had the bright idea of sticking a few pots and pans outside to collect rainwater. When the storm passed I had about half a centimetre of rain in the pans. I gratefully washed my hands before going to bed, uncomfortably aware of our dirty feet. But there was nothing we could do about it. We had used what was left from an ancient packet of baby wipes to clean Skye and wipe the salt of of their backs. We had nothing left to clean with, not a drop of water in the house.

I woke up this morning late, at 9am. I jumped out of bed and ran to the kitchen, opened the taps and nothing came out. I stood there and thought about how much we come to rely on the litres of water that is pumped to our houses every day. Without it I couldn't wash my face in the morning, have a cup of tea, shower, flush the toilet (OK, luckily I hadn't emptied the bucket and mop, so used that dirty water to flush the toilet) or even give the kittens a drink.

Carlo phoned the comune (council) and was told that the water would be back by lunchtime. I decide to have green tea instead of black tea, until I remembered that it was the water that was missing not the milk. I had milk for breakfast. It was that or beer. I poured some dirty rainwater into the cats drinking bowl and used the rest to splash on my face. I had to go to work at 2, so made tentative arrangements to shower at a friends house where the water was working but in big spurts with many air bubbles.

All in all the experience made me stop to think about how much we rely on modern conveniences adn how useless we are without them.


  1. There was a warning on Positano News about the water, but not everyone has internet.

  2. Nicki, sorry to say there were warnings on poles and walls scattered around town. I happened to see one, the next day another couple.
    Unfortunately one must read every paper on the walls...this is Positano

  3. You need to keep some water jugs in case of such water turn off situations. When I was in Sicily after doing a 6 hour pilgrimage to some church, my feet were filthy and I had to use the water jugs stored in the "water closet" on the balcony to wash my feet and hands before I went to bed at 6 a.m. The water was turned off, had something to do with the Fiat plant. I unfortunately spilt half of the jug over the balcony onto signora's laundry down below. Ooops...yep water jugs is a good thing.

  4. Sorry about your water situation! Where was that picture taken? Is that garden in Positano?

  5. We have a house in Sicily (which we use for holidays only) in the centro storico area of a town in the province of Agrigento. There we have water supplied twice a week. Fortunately we have had plenty of tanks installed on the roof and with an electric motor to speed the supply up it works a treat. We never run out of water but nevertheless we are careful when we are there in particular in the summer, and we always have a container as a reserve. You never know. I have experienced what you have been through . My sister-in-laws live in Milan and have never had a problem.

  6. Nell said...
    We in Canada are asked to keep in case of disaster at least a three to four day supply of water in a cool place. This could work for you and you won't have to go looking up poles for info on what's being shut off this week.

  7. We normally get a letter to say the water is going off, but that has not happened for a long time.

    I read on my friends blog Sicily Scene all about this a thing that happens normally in Sicily and Italy.

  8. Beer at breakfast is not that bad.

  9. I don't think "this is all part of normal life in Italy" at all!
    In Tuscany where I've always lived, it's never happened.
    Anyway I think some people is getting used to discomforts so easily!Why don't they complain?

  10. This must have been awful! We take fresh running water for granted but when it's not available we sure miss it!

  11. In Buenos Aires we'll sometimes just not have water. I don't know why. So I leave the house all day and come back later and it's usually back. Hasn't happened in the house where I currently live but I wouldn't be surprised if it did soon.

    boy am I behind on reading this blog! I have got to get to work and start reading! :-)


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